There’s a huge emphasis these days on eco-friendly, sustainable manufacturing in many sectors — from building materials to home goods to self-care products and more.
This begs a few questions for jewelers.
What do sustainable practices look like when you’re in the jewelry business?
How do you really know a jewelry manufacturer is as “green” as it presents itself and its manufacturing practices to be?
And the kicker: Could you be engaging with manufacturers that practice greenwashing?
One of our forward-thinking jewelry manufacturer clients, Phoenix Design Group, has recently shed a spotlight on greenwashing in the jewelry biz.
Read on to find what greenwashing is, how to identify it, and how to avoid it.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing refers to the practice of falsely implying or outright stating the level of environmental responsibility your company is using in its manufacturing.
In other words, greenwashing is saying your product is “greener” than it really is.
It’s become a real problem in the jewelry manufacturing world, largely because it’s so difficult to prove when you’re actually doing it correctly.
The raw materials to manufacture jewelry are often found at the ends of the Earth, gathered by people who can’t afford to ask for oversight.
But, fortunately, all of that is evolving.
Phoenix Design Jewelry, which specializes in manufacturing gender fluid on-trend jewelry from certified refined & recycled silver, is leading this change by example. The company is building an eco-friendlier, sustainable business, end-to-end, within its manufacturing process. You can read more about Phoenix and its journey to sustainability here.
What To Look For When Identifying Greenwashing
When it comes to greenwashing, as a jeweler, what should you look for when trying to identify it?
The first step in the process is to find out which companies your suppliers are already working with. What a great reference to know that a supplier is already working with a company that is aware of greenwashing and has a great consumer reputation.
If you’re not sure or don’t like the answers you receive and want to offer responsible choices to your customers in the fashion jewelry space, look for companies who can validate their marketing claims through third party independent verification or tools.
The standards set forth by these organizations are not easy to comply with, and their audits are even more difficult to pass successfully. This is why so many companies greenwash their efforts.
A few good signs of a jewelry manufacturer committed to sustainability & green practices include:
- Responsible Jewelry Council Membership & Audits
- LBMA (Independent Precious Metals Authority) Membership & Audits
- Higg Index Tools Registration & Adoption
The message here is not to fall for the marketing fluff and buzzwords. Ask your manufacturers to prove what they are doing to promote sustainable impact in the jewelry industry.
Doing this will help you give your customers what they want: Jewelry they love looking at and feel proud to wear.
A recent survey by Forrester shows that roughly 65% of consumers want to support brands that are sustainable. That number is certain to go up in the future. It’s also the highest among 18-44 year-olds – the target market you as a jeweler want as your clientele.
Carefully selecting supply chain partners with a commitment to sustainable manufacturing – alongside your own green practices – can help further the evolution toward a truly sustainable jewelry industry. And it’ll bring you closer to your target customer.